LAS VEGAS, NV—With the UCLA Bruin Football team being the “media darlings” of the entire football landscape last week, the continuing evolution of frosh sensation Josh Rosen, Canyon News decided to take it on the road…TO VEGAS BABY!
What a winning combination-the bright lights of Las Vegas and the Bruin Nation descending upon gorgeous Sam Boyd Stadium makes you a winner with no casino in sight. Game time temps topped out at a balmy 95 degrees and this first ever meeting between the two schools was an entertaining match up that left the fans happy and perhaps a little woozy from the intense heat.
The final score was 37-3 with a little twist of controversy at the end, tempered by a serious injury to a Bruin player in the last few seconds of the game. With 3:04 left and the Bruins holding a commanding 37-0 lead, UNLV decided to avoid the shutout and not go for the first down on fourth down. They instead kicked a meaningless field goal, depriving the outstanding defense of UCLA the shutout. UCLA Coach Jim Mora looked quizzical on the sidelines, while football protocol was certainly breached. That did not take away from a spirited, workmanlike effort from the Bruins. Something that did was the injury to Tevita Halalilo, a freshman offensive lineman. Here’s to wishing him the best of recovery, young man.
Josh Rosen was a large part of why there was over 31,000 in attendance, the largest home attendance for UNLV since 2008. It was about a 50-50 split on colors permeating each crowd section echoing a high school football game.
Jim Mora spoke about his young QB after the game stating, “He always showed poise, never making bad plays and playing within himself.” His final stats were 23 completions on 42 attempts with his first interception of his young career. He had over 223 yards, and 1 touchdown on a night where RB Paul Perkins reminded the PAC-12 that there is a one-two punch that will be a pick your poison type of situation.
Last week, Virginia was determined to stop the run, this week Perkins ran for 151 bruising yards and looked good doing it. He broke many tackles, his 56 yard run into the end zone in the third quarter was the final nail in the coffin for the Rebels.
This game was a tune up for the next week, and the defense was the difference in the game. They constantly harassed UNLV, barely giving them a chance to get a first down. UCLA’s defense is giving up only 9.5 points per game.
Next week, the Bruins return to the Rose Bowl to face the BYU Cougars at 7:30 p.m. Now it’s time to hit the tables.